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Australia has had tens of thousands of years of fisheries exploitation. That history reveals a staggering natural bounty, which has been alarmingly fragile without proper management. The current debate over the federal government’s new draft marine park plans is the latest chapter of this story.

Early accounts described what we can only read today as some sort of fishing Eden. The sea floor off the west coast of Tasmania was carpeted red with crayfish. Extraordinary schools of Australian salmon swelled the beaches of southern Australia — from Albany right around to Port Macquarie. Mountains of mullet migrated annually up the east coast of the continent.

Colonial writers described huge hauls of fish, caught using nets they had brought over on the First Fleet. One catch in 1788 was so large, wrote David Collins, the colony’s newly minted Judge-Advocate, that it actually broke the net. Collins speculated that if the haul had been landed, the entire catch could “have served the settlement [of over 1000] for a day”.



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A breaching humpback whale. Sightings of right whales and humpbacks have declined off the coast of Maine this year, likely because whales are forced to hunt elsewhere as warming waters disrupt the food chain. CreditTom Fernald/North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog

MOUNT DESERT ROCK, Me. — From the top of the six-story lighthouse, water stretches beyond the horizon in every direction. A foghorn bleats twice at 22-second intervals, interrupting the endless chatter of herring gulls.

At least twice a day, beginning shortly after dawn, researchers climb steps and ladders and crawl through a modest glass doorway to scan the surrounding sea, looking for the distinctive spout of a whale.

This chunk of rock, about 25 nautical miles from Bar Harbor, is part of a global effort to track and learn more about one of the sea’s most majestic and endangered creatures. So far this year, the small number of sightings here have underscored the growing perils along the East Coast to both humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales.



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We still have those pesky 10- to 12-inch bluefish and a lot of short tautog interspersed with a rare keeper to keep us going as we make the transition to the anticipated fall-fishing mode around South Jersey.

A couple of interesting catches surfaced recently. Matt Slobodjian reported from Jim’s Bait and Tackle he weighed the biggest wahoo he’s ever handled when Clint Clement, captain of the Cape May-based Common Sense, hauled a 106-pounder up on the outdoor scales in Cape May.

The Common Sense also racked up 20 mahi and one yellowfin. That is one of the better offshore catches recorded recently, and according to Slobodjian, Clement was fishing the 30-Fathom Line inside the Baltimore Canyon.


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As the morning frost thickens when September passes and October begins, a die-hard group of anglers grow increasingly excited.

Junkies, addicts, thugs and strippers show their true colors. I’m not talking about criminals, gang-bangers or folks breaking the law. I’m exposing a sub-culture of fly fishing—the committed streamer angler. These anglers are devoted to matching two things: big fish on big flies.

“Streamers” is the common term used to describe flies tied to imitate other baitfish or larger food, such as crayfish and baitfish. This is not a new concept in fly fishing; using large flies to catch fish has roots with the birth of fly fishing. The first anglers to use feathers on a hook to catch a fish did so by tying their flies to imitate other fish. Many of these original baitfish patterns were longer than 4 inches.

Today’s streamer junkies and tug thugs may think they have broken new ground in fly fishing with the creation of several new streamer patterns, but they’ve simply re-purposed old hits into new ones, à la Dr. Dre and Diddy. Here’s my list of the best streamers to have in your box and their pattern of origin.



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A new £30m trawler bought by a Kilkeel family is an expression of confidence in the future of fishing, according to industry leaders.

However they say it will not be seen in Northern Ireland waters because of a lack of investment in harbour infrastructure.

The 86m-long Voyager is too big to land its catch at Kilkeel Harbour.

A proposed expansion of facilities there has not materialised despite extensive lobbying.

The boat was built in Denmark for the McCullough family who are from the County Down town.

It is likely to operate out of Killybegs in County Donegal, fishing for herring and mackerel.



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Bait shop owners, guides and others agree: The spawning salmon are in Lake Ontario tributaries from the Salmon River to the Lower Niagara.

And one more thing. The best is still to come, they say.

In the above photo, Lindsay Agness of Rochester holds an impressive Chinook she landed recently at the Douglaston Salmon Run on the lower Salmon River.  Fishing reports from the most popular salmon fishing waterways in Upstate New York follow:



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A local RV park is partnering with the Centerville Eagles Club to host a fundraiser for a non-profit organization that serves disabled veterans.

Doggs RV Park will be hosting a free-will donation fish fry and fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 14 from 5-8 p.m. to benefit Castaway Disabilities. There will also be a raffle, 50/50 drawings and silent auctions to help raise money. Organizers are currently looking for items to be donated for the raffles and the silent auctions.

Castaway Disabilities, which began in Iowa City, provides week-long fishing trips to disabled veterans of all ages. This year, the program moved their fishing trip to Rathbun Lake after many years of traveling to Ely, Minnesota.



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Fisherman: Justices ruled on technicalities, not merits

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel’s case that challenged the federal government’s ability to force commercial fishermen to pay the costs of at-sea monitoring.

The rejection by the Supreme Court is the third defeat suffered by Goethel and co-plaintiff South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector XIII since they first sued NOAA Fisheries and other federal officials in December 2015 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.

The court’s rejection closes the door on this particular legal challenge of the government’s right to impose the cost of at-sea monitoring on commercial fishermen, as the Supreme Court also declined to remand the case back to a lower court.

 “The Supreme Court was our last judicial hope to save the centuries-old New England industry,” Goethel said in a statement.



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At least 21 people are dead after a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast Friday.  

ISTANBUL —At least 21 people are dead after a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast Friday, according to the country’s coast guard.

The boat capsized near the coastal town of Kefken in northwestern Turkey. The coast guard said that 40 people had been rescued.

The nationalities of those on board was unclear, as were their destinations.

Rescue teams were still searching for five people reported missing. Coast guard boats and commercial ships were taking part in the search along with a helicopter and a plane.

While Turkey’s Aegean coast is popular with people smugglers to send Syrians and other refugees to the Greek islands, a growing number of migrants departing from Turkish coasts have recently been trying to reach Romania by way of the Black Sea.



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John Sladewski /Standard Times via AP/Carlos Rafael, talking on the phone in 2014 near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, is due to be sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal.

The specter of Carlos Rafael, along with his legal baggage and trove of groundfish permits, continues to hang over the New England commercial fishing industry like a shroud that most stakeholders wish would just go away.

The sentencing of Rafael, the New Bedford fishing magnate known as “The Codfather” for his expansive vessel and groundfish permit holdings, is set to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston on charges of conspiracy, lying to federal fishing regulators about the nature and size of his groundfish landings and bulk smuggling.

“We can’t wait for this to be resolved,” said Maggie Raymond of the Associated Fisheries of Maine.

The sentencing of the 65-year-old Rafael, who pleaded guilty in March as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, won’t end the contretemps. Not by a long shot.



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